After all the planning, preparation, acclimatization climbs, and getting rested and strong at Base Camp we are leaving for our summit attempt! We spent the last couple days doing our final preparations as we have watched the weather show signs of improvement.
This season on Mt Everest has been characterized by higher and more consistent winds than normal. We have watched the upper reaches of Mt Everest get blasted by 120+mph winds for most of this spring. The summit of Mt Everest is high enough to be in jet stream force winds (it’s at an altitude where commercial airliners normally fly!), but to see the winds consistently blast the summit week after week with no abatement is unusual. Each season in May the jet stream moves north of the Himalayas and raises in altitude as the weather pattern changes when the summer monsoon season begins to build to the south over India. Sometimes the jet stream lifts off of the summit for as short as a couple days and other times it stops tickling the top of Everest for as long as a week or more. Currently the weather is showing signs of this activity starting to occur. We are receiving forecasts of a “medium” confidence level that are confirming what we’re seeing.
Our high camps are now in place and an advance team is heading up to the South Col where our highest camp is located at 7955m/26,100′. This team’s job will be to carry up and anchor fixed rope into the steeper parts of the route to offer us protection while we climb. With all our logistics in place and seeing what we want in the weather pattern the time is right for our summit attempt. Here is our projected schedule:
Climbing with us will be our faithful companion Kancha Nuru Sherpa. Kancha is from the town of Phortse in the Solo Khumbu region of Nepal. Many strong Sherpa’s have hailed from Phortse and they are fiercely proud of their reputation. Kancha speaks good English having grown up walking to the neighboring village of Khumjung where Sir Edmund Hillary helped establish a school for the Sherpa community in 1961. Following in the footsteps of the legendary Tigers Of The Snow including Tenzing Norgay who climbed with Hillary on the first ascent in 1953, Nawang Gombu who climbed with the first American Jim Whittaker in 1963 and became the first person to summit Everest twice, and many others Kancha first reached the summit of Mt Everest with Kurt Wedberg on May 21, 2008. He has gone on to reach the summit each year since then. It will be a pleasure to climb with Kancha once again on this summit attempt.
Our first goal on this climb is safety. We plan to climb as safely as possible and return from this trip healthy. Assuming we can stay within an acceptable margin of safety our second goal is to reach the summit of Mt Everest. While we can’t eliminate danger we plan to do everything we can to minimize the risk.
Thank you to everybody for your continued prayers and support for our climb. We have appreciated all the comments and well wishes thus far and we can definitely feel your support from half way around the world. We will do our best to keep you updated on our progress along our journey and look forward to connecting with you all upon our return!
(You can follow the team’s progress on the Sierra Mountaineering blog.)